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[GreenYes] Plastic Beer Bottles - Stadiums

    Today's paper states that, in the aftermath of the violence in Cleveland
and New Orleans last weekend, the St. Louis Rams has banned the sale of beer
in plastic bottles  for the rest of the season. Apparently, some have seen
similar stories about 5 or 6 other stadiums, as well, although I haven't
seen those stories yet.

    It is important to note that, in assessing the impact of barrier and
amber bottles on recycling, this is only a sideshow of transient importance.
Stadiums have never been more than just a niche market as compared to liquor
stores, supermarkets and convenience stores.  The reason why the plastic
beer bottle moved so well in the stadium venue and not anywhere else is only
because the premium price for plastic -- perhaps 4-8 cents per bottle -- is
inconsequential to a fan who is being charged $4-5 for a beer and, in any
event, is given no choice in the matter.  Not so on the supermarket shelf,
where the 4-8 cents per bottle, or 24-64 cents per six pack, is a
significant factor.

    Because the price premium imposed by the first generation bottles met
market resistance outside of stadiums, the Plastic Redesign Project's report
on barrier bottles has always assumed that the future would lie with a
second generation design that was less costly to produce -- and that, we
hoped, would give us more time to educate the designers about the needs of
recyclers so that redesigns could be pursued for better downstream
compatibility than the first generation accorded.

    The potential size of the beer market for plastic bottles is 3.2 million
pounds annually, compared to total PET bottle production of 3.5 billion
pounds.  Then there are major barrier markets in 12 ounce carbonated soft
drinks and fruit drinks.  That is a sufficient inducement to insure that new
barrier designs at lower costs will be developed over time.

    Our task is to insure that this work includes best efforts to also
insure that the new bottle imposes no significant costs on recyclers.  If we
apply ourselves to that educational effort so that the urgency of responding
to our needs is palpably felt, I have the utmost confidence a win/win
solution can be found.


Peter Anderson
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705
(608) 231-1100
Fax (608) 233-0011

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